The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Quick question during baking :-)

Sander's picture
Sander

Quick question during baking :-)

Hi guys,

 

It's been a few weeks since I've been on TFL.

I've been on holidays so I haven't baked for a while but now I'm back with a vengeance. :-)

Or so I thought. In my haste today I forgot to only add a little starter to my mix to make a levain. instead I doubled my starter as a normal feed.

Do you guys think I should do the float test in few hours and go ahead with baking or will the levain not be up for a bake? What would be the difference when making a levain this way? My thoughts are quicker fermentation and more sourness but I'm not too sure.

My starter (and thus levain this time) is high hydration: 10g rye, 90 white, 100g water.

It's pretty hot here in the tropics so my levain is usually ready in about 2 to 3 hours when left out. I'm in an air-conditioned room at the moment, that might help a bit :-)

Cheers in advance,

Sander

Lechem's picture
Lechem

You normally go for a little starter in a levain build and wait more time but today you've added more starter?

When you say it's been a while since you have baked does this mean it's been a while since your starter has been fed?  Well depending on how long it's ben since the last feed it might need more time to mature and more TLC to bring it back up to strength.

Also taking into account how much of a feed has it had? Is it a good feed of 1:1:1 or higher or is it a poorer feed of less than 1:1:1? If it's been a while since the last feed and it's a poor feed it could have a negative impact. If you have been keeping the feeds up but just not baking then a poorer feed might not be so bad and will just alter the profile of the levain.

So a few things to consider. After having said all that there are no steadfast rules and while some guidelines are followed for an optimum result it doesn't mean your way is not going to work. Just wait for it to mature and use. If you suspect it might not be up to par then you can always add in a little yeast for added assurance.

As for flavour profile... more starter doesn't always mean more sour. Depends on many factors. Often it means a less tangy starter.

Sander's picture
Sander

Hi Lechem,

 

Thanks for your quick reply.

You paraphrased my question accurately there. I have only been using a little starter in my previous levains as that's what I've been reading elsewhere. I've never really read a reason for it. This time however I used loads more starter and haven't really got an idea how it will differ because of it.

I did indeed use a well fed starter that was very active and happy.

 

I think I have been feeding it 2:1:1 = 100g starter + 50g H2O, 50g flour.

It might indeed be a good idea to check the levain and see what I think. I'm not particularly in a hurry to bake so if it doesn't feel right I might just restart tomorrow. 

Thanks again for the advice

Cheers,

Sander

Lechem's picture
Lechem

If you have a nice and active starter which you have been feeding regularly, even you haven't been baking with it, then a one off levain build of 1:0.5:0.5 is not going to be the end of the world and you can go ahead with it.

The only issue might be if it had been sitting in the fridge for a few weeks since the last feed and the levain build was poor.

So either wait for it to mature and go ahead or just add an extra 50g water + 50g flour to make it a 1:1:1 build. No problem in adding in more at this stage if you have the time. But either way I think it'll be fine.

Sander's picture
Sander

Everything went well. I had a great oven spring but due to it being my first 100% hydration I took it out a bit too early. Otherwise good bake.

Thanks for the advice and supporting words :-)